With a strong but altered lineup and looking to continue a clean sheet and victory streak, the Seattle Sounders conceded first to Minnesota United FC and only claimed victory after a last-second penalty call from referee Ismail Elfath.

After picking up another three points, the Sounders are now 11-7-7, +7 on GD. They have 40 points through 25 played, or 1.6 PPG, which puts them in first place in the Western Conference, tied on points but ahead of Sporting Kansas City because Seattle has one more win on the season.


MATCH STATISTICS

MATCH SUMMARY

Seattle Sounders FC 2 – Minnesota United FC 1

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Venue: Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field

Referee: Ismail Elfath

Assistants: Ian Anderson, Eric Boria

Fourth Official: Daniel Radford

VAR: Drew Fischer

Attendance: 40,312

Weather: 72 degrees and sunny

SCORING SUMMARY

MIN – Ethan Finlay (Ibson) 21′

SEAChad Marshall (Nicolás Lodeiro) 31′

SEAClint Dempsey (penalty) 90’+4′

MISCONDUCT SUMMARY

MIN – Abu Danladi (caution) 25′

MINJermaine Taylor (caution) 90’+3′

LINEUPS & STATS

Seattle Sounders FC – Stefan Frei; Kelvin Leerdam, Román Torres, Chad Marshall, Joevin Jones; Osvaldo Alonso – captain, Gustav Svensson (Will Bruin 65′), Nicolás Lodeiro, Clint Dempsey, Cristian Roldan; Jordan Morris (Nouhou 83′)

Substitutes not used: Tyler Miller, Tony Alfaro, Victor Rodriguez, Harry Shipp, Jordy Delem

Total shots: 21 (Dempsey, 7)

Shots on goal: 5 (Dempsey, 2)

Fouls: 6 (Alonso, 2)

Offside: 2 (Leerdam/Morris, 1)

Corner-kicks: 8 (Lodeiro, 7)

Saves: 0

Minnesota United FC – Bobby Shuttlesworth; Jerome Thiesson, Michael Boxall, Brent Kallman, Francisco Calvo – captain; Sam Cronin, Ibson (Collen Warner 90′), Ethan Finlay, Kevin Molino (Jermaine Taylor 77′), Sam Nicholson (Miguel Ibarra 82′); Abu Danladi

Substitutes not used: Patrick McLain, Collin Martin, Ismaila Jome, Brandon Allen

Total shots: 8 (Finlay/Danladi, 2)

Shots on goal: 1 (Finlay, 1)

Fouls: 20 (Danladi, 3)

Offside: 3 (Danladi, 2)

Corner-kicks: 4 (Nicholson, 4)

Saves: 3 (Shuttlesworth, 3)


POST-MATCH QUOTES

SOUNDERS FC HEAD COACH BRIAN SCHMETZER

On why the team couldn’t score from open play:

“I wish I knew. Each game in this league manifests itself in a different way. So if you look at the last time these two teams met, it developed into a game where they pressed high and we were able to counter. Today I thought — they scored the first goal, we knew they were going to come out with energy. They scored the goal then they bunkered in. They defended well for large parts of the game. That’s just the way it goes sometimes. I’ll watch the film and we’ll kind of see how the setup of the team was, making sure that we’re putting the players in the right spots. But at this point I really don’t have an answer until I watch the film.”

On whether the team’s difficulty in open play was down to execution or effort:

“I would say that the effort of the group — there was no quit in the team. Sometimes if you’re losing games and you’re wondering how your team is going to respond, and they don’t give up. This was actually a time when our team just didn’t give up because they knew they wanted to find a winner. So, again, was the quality there? Were we off on a couple final passes? Yes. But at the end of the day, people aren’t going to remember that. They’re just going to remember that it’s three points and we won 2-1.”

On the mentality of the team:

“Well that was one of the hallmarks of the team last year: They found different ways to win different games. And that mindset hasn’t been lost on this group. There’s enough guys in there that took part in what happened last year. There’s enough senior leadership in that team. If I’m going back-to-front, Stef [Frei] did a decent job, the center backs and outside backs were good. I thought Gustav [Svensson] was good. Ozzie [Alonso] came in and had his first 90 minutes in a long time. Deuce was doing his thing, I think you saw a little extra effort there defending out of him. He wanted to win the game. So everybody top-to-bottom I thought put it in.”

On whether this game was a trap game:

“I was worried a little bit, but I thought the messaging was good. We watched film and did our standard stuff that we do to prepare for opponents, but it’s always being in that moment, being physically in the game. And I think after the first sequence — I mean, they had a corner kick, a throw-in, a set piece — after that first five, six, seven minutes, it finally sunk into them that, you know what, we’ve got a game on our hands. And then they scored the early goal which set us back even more. You’ve got to credit Minnesota, you’ve got credit Adrian [Heath]. He had his team ready to go. We were just fortunate to put enough sustained pressure on them to make them break down in the end.”

On the balance Kelvin Leerdam brings to the team’s attack:

“It’s helped tremendously. In our system, in our 4-2-3-1, our wide guys like to pinch in, Nico [Lodeiro] likes to pinch in, so that leaves a big freeway for Kelvin to go up the field. We know Joevin’s [Jones] attacking tendencies are very, very good. So it has helped us balance the team in attack, but I don’t want to say it’s just all attack, attack, attack, Kelvin’s a very good defender as well. He does his job on the defensive end as well.”

On why Victor Rodriguez has not made his debut:

“Again, each game is different. I would’ve loved to have him get his first taste of MLS minutes, but winning the game, and the team itself, is the most important thing. He’s a very talented player and he will find minutes, it’s just a question of when.”

SOUNDERS FC FORWARD CLINT DEMPSEY

On his thoughts regarding the penalty call at the end of the game:

“I felt good. Team played well today; I thought we deserved the three points. We moved the ball well, created some good chances. They were compact defensively, difficult to break down, they defended with a lot of heart, had a lot of great clearances. We just kept plugging away, and at the end of the day I thought that was a fair penalty and I just wanted to get it hard and low. I took it quick to kind of throw him off. I think he thought I was going to hesitate and did a little stutter-step. He still got a hand to it, so I maybe didn’t hit it as clean as I wanted, but I think by taking it quick it threw him off a little bit.”

On the importance of getting results:

“I mean, we are fighting to be in the playoffs and to have the home field advantage. The higher your seed is, the better chance you have to go further in the playoffs. We are fighting to be towards the top of the table – if not the top – and we’ll see how the season unfolds.”

On having ended his season at this point last year:

“Yeah, the team went along and did great [last season]. I tried to help when I was there, I think I was there 14 games, 15 games, had eight goals, three assists. But, yeah, the team performed really well. They fought really hard. A lot of guys stepped up and played really well. It was great to see those guys bring a MLS Cup to this city that deserves it. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t itching to get out there and wished I could be a part of it, but at the end of the day we have a chance at it again and hopefully I can be a part of it this time.”

SOUNDERS FC GOALKEEPER STEFAN FREI:

On the game overall:

“Difficult game. I think we made it very difficult for ourselves. Obviously going down a goal is never easy, but overall we were causal at times – mentally casual. I’m not knocking us for our effort. I think the effort was there. We worked our butts off, which is great, but I think we have to be a bit more sharp. We have free kicks where we get our center backs forward and we played short. We have two-on-ones on corners and we don’t recognize it. Those are all things, mental lapses, that are very frustrating in a game like this where they didn’t really have anything but we aren’t making the right decisions and it essentially could cost us the game. Thankfully we were able to mount enough pressure to the point where, literally, the last kick of the game they broke. We will take the three points.”

On fighting back from down positions as a team:

“It goes back to the very beginning of the season where we’ve had difficult situations. I remember going to Montreal and fighting back, amongst other results. Obviously now we’re not just getting ties out of these being down in games, but we’re actually getting wins. All those experiences early in the season are vital. They’re so important for a team to build that character of never giving up and fighting until the last ball, last whistle. That’s what you need. I’d reckon if you have an easy season all season and you don’t go through hardships – we saw what happened last year – I don’t think you’re going to be successful in the end. You need to have tough times to really work on that character of that team to be able to call upon that knowledge and that character when it’s needed.”

On Minnesota’s goal:

“It was very innocent. [Finlay] collects the ball just on the edge of the box, if not the outside, and we just kind of let him stroll in. It’s just too easy. We need to be sharper there. I think I said this earlier in the week, this was was a very very dangerous opponent. On paper we destroyed them at their place so now everyone expects us to do the same thing at home, but in the MLS that doesn’t really happen. Every game is its own beast, and you have to treat every opponent with the utmost respect. They are a more than capable side and they proved it today. Again, I think we made it more difficult for ourselves than we needed it to be, but fortunate that we got three points.”

MINNESOTA UNITED HEAD COACH ADRIAN HEATH

On the late penalty goal:

“I’m disappointed for the players, obviously. I think they put an incredible shift in tonight. We had really good shape, defended the goal well and we’ve always looked a threat all evening. Abu [Danladi] could’ve conceivably had two or three [goals] himself. So, for all the hard work, to get nothing from the game is a little bit of a killer for the boys, but I can’t fault their effort. As I said, I was pleased with a lot of aspects of our game tonight.”

On whether the penalty call was correct:

“I’ll have to see it again, I’ll have to see it again. But I don’t want to speak about the referee. The less I say about him, the better.”

On Ethan Finlay scoring on his debut:

“Yeah, we’re all pleased for him, obviously, but he did exactly what we he thought he would do. He looks like he’s been with us an awful long time. He slotted straight in — knows the role — I think he’s going to be a good pickup for us. He can be delighted with his first start.”

On Finlay’s impact on the rest of the group:

“I think we try to play a similar type of game as Columbus [Crew], so he’s used to the role that we’re asking of him. So I think that’s been a little easier of [an] adjustment for him. He’s a great kid. He wants to come in, work hard and do really well. And he will do well for us.”

On Abu Danladi’s performance:

“I thought he looked dangerous all evening and he’s devastated with himself in there because he’s had good opportunities tonight, chances that he normally buries. So he’ll be disappointed, but as I’ve said to him, if he keeps getting in there, keeps getting in the right spots, the goals will come for him.”

On his message to the team after the match:

“If we can compete the way we did tonight, I’ll be really pleased. We’ve got, what is it, 10 games left now? And we’ve only got three at home, so we’re going to have to go to one or two tough places on the road. But if we can show the same commitment and organization that we did tonight, we’ll pick up a couple of wins between now and the end of the season.”

On Boxall’s marking on the set piece when Chad Marshall scored:

“Yeah, he just slipped over. Obviously there’s nothing you can do about that, it is what it is. But, there’s been a lot of positives for me to take out of this evening’s game. But as I said, I’m disappointed that the players haven’t got something from all their hard work. They deserved a little bit more than that.”

MINNESOTA UNITED FC MIDFIELDER ETHAN FINLAY

On his feelings having scored a goal:

“It was terrific. I had thoughts of it obviously earlier in the day. It was a great ball by Ibson. Great recognition. You know, it was a long time coming I think. I was happy to do it and in the first game it was a great way to debut.”

On the team’s mood postgame:

“I think we are disappointed. Absolutely. We created enough chances to score two or three goals today. If you put yourself to let them nick one late. Give them credit as well. They had some opportunities they missed, but I thought we deserved better than zero points today.”

On his thoughts about fitting into Minnesota’s system:

“I say [that I fit] pretty well. That is up for you guys to judge, right? We are just concerned about the guys in there. They would not have brought me here if they didn’t think I was going to fit in. It is up to you guys to decide if they made the right decision or not. I thought it was great. I thought in the short time we have had together that we are combining. We will start to find each other and gel a little bit more. Don’t discount it. We created three, four really good opportunities and could had three or four goals this evening.”

On what he feels he can bring to Minnesota:

“Leadership. I think this is a team that has struggled, obviously, this year. I think by bringing in some of the pieces they have throughout the season, they are looking to bring some guys in that have some experience, that have a voice in this locker room, and that are going to better this club on and off the field. That is no different from what I will try to do. What Sam [Nicholson] was asked to probably do, what Marc Burch has been asked to do. To come in here. And obviously the guys they brought in, those guys are still getting used to it. They have only been here for eight months themselves. So they are all kind of getting their feet wet, too. In a new place, new environment with some new coaching staff. Everything is still very fresh for everyone. So I think that is the important thing. I hope to continue to bring good performances for the team and bring energy. I thought tonight we weathered that storm pretty well in the second half. I like to think I helped that, and I was a part of that. I think that is one of the things Adrian [Heath] likes about me. If we can make that contagious for the club, we will do just fine.”

MINNESOTA UNITED FC DEFENDER BRENT KALLMAN

On the match:

It feels like we left points out there. We had some really good chances. Chances to bury the game. We talked about it. We knew coming in we were going to get some really good chances on goal and that we were going to have to bury them against a team like that. So that one hurts, and then we got unlucky at the end. I thought we were doing a good job seeing the ball out, seeing the game out, and then to give up a penalty on the last play of the game like that, it was crushing. I think we deserve more from the game, but how many times have we said that this year?”

On playing in Seattle and this environment:

“They were loud. They were really loud in the second half. I think the players feed off that. They definitely feed off it. I think as an away player, you feed off it as well. This was my first game back in a while and I was kind of tired in the first half. I felt much better in the second half. I think that was part of the stadium, the crowd and how loud it was. That was one of the best environments I’ve played in probably.”

On what Ethan Finlay brings to the team:

“He works really hard. You are always going to get that from him. He works super hard and he is direct. He is not a guy that is going to come underneath all the time but he wants to get in behind and that is exactly what happens on the goal. Ibson got time and space he makes a good run in behind and he is effective and direct in that way. You are always going to get a ton of work from him.”

On playing tonight despite recent injury:

“Well, I think I’m good. I met with the doctor. They seem really confident that I’m good to go, even though I had a scare last week. The coaches are concerned because it is an injury that they have never heard of or been around. They can’t relate to it in any way. I feel good and the doctors have assured me that I am good to go.”



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